Throwback Thursdays - Pencil Drawing /Sketchbook Pro/Photoshop Touch for Android


Old color version of a drawing created using Sketchbook Pro and Photoshop Touch on a Motorola Xoom.

This is a project based on a pencil drawing in an old sketchbook. It was attempted during the Android 3.x Honeycomb era on a Motorola Xoom starting with Sketchbook Pro. The image was exported to Photoshop Touch where the plan was to finish the background there but a glitch occurred that started to destroy layers, causing colors to display incorrectly. Undo didn't fix it, auto save functions weren't supported back then and I didn't have a stable version in internal storage to reload the image and continue. As a result, all work stopped on this project. It's a shame really, I liked where it was going but under the circumstances I couldn't trust Photoshop Touch on the Xoom any longer and the brushes I needed to go back to a much earlier version and start again weren't in Sketchbook Pro. Suckage. Such were the early days of working with Android tablets.


Original sketchbook drawing created in 2004 if memory serves.

During the time this was created it wasn't unheard of for artists to invest in their own scanners and printers. A trip to Stables could score an artist a decent printer and scanner for $100 to $150 each depending on what was in stock. I invested in both and picked up a matte cutter too. Good times. But times change and technology advances even though it would be hard to tell judging by some that refuse to keep up with even the most basic of upgrades.


In regards to the pencil drawing, many years after it was created, a friend paid me a visit and showed me some of the artwork she was working on. She was never a huge fan of sketching directly on her iPad opting to draw in her sketchbook and then photograph the drawings, transferring them to the iPad for completion. I was skeptical about this considering a smartphone doesn't have the standard scanner options for dots per inch (DPI) adjustments and color adjustment options. But the photographs of her sketches actually looked like scans. I was floored. She had apprehension about the images initially because of the clean up involved but that's par for the course when scanning images and not difficult to fix usually unless the photo is trashed. I grabbed my own smartphone, pulled out the drawing above and took a photograph of it. Lo and behold, it looked like a scan. Hindsight is 20/20 so after some thought it all made sense considering that's all a scanner really is. A flatbed method of taking a photograph of an image converting it to digital format in the process.


Upon further investigation, mobile photography apps can cover some of the bases that are standards in scanners. For instance, scanners allow for color adjustments, resolution and cropping to be customized prior to making the scan. Using a smartphone to photograph sketches allows for resolution to be adjusted somewhat, prior to snapping the photo by changing the megapixel settings of the camera, the higher the megapixel rating of the camera, the better the image captured. But cropping and color adjustments can be performed after the photo is taken in the default camera app itself or using any number of 3rd party app solutions. The flash of a camera can help in getting the right exposure for the sketches similar to how many scanners using a bright light to control exposure. Of course, if one had a choice between whether to use a scanner or a smartphone to get drawings into a digital format, the scanner is generally a better choice unless the scanner is a dinosaur from 1995. Although a smartphone is very convenient, a fairly recent dedicated scanner is more powerful. But my friend demonstrated a creative use of her smartphone to solve the problem of not having a scanner available. Fun times.

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